Welcome to the Nostalgic Ramber

Hans Jeff Borger is heard on WRGE 97.9 FM in Ocala, FL featuring Christian programming.

"The Nostalgic Rambler" radio show previously heard on Gene Martin & Friends has been suspended due to my commitments at WRGE.

Why a blog? I wrote a book "The Little Grownup: a nostalgic Michigan boyhood" which should appeal to most baby boomers. A mass market book? Well, not yet...but the potential is there! (Be sure to buy it at "finer on line bookstores" everywhere!)

The comments presented in "The Nostalgic Rambler" probably won't be of interest to the masses...anymore. If grandma and grandpa and their friends were still alive, then it would be a different story.

I live in the past. My time warp is a comfortable cocoon even if it sometimes drives my wife crazy. The music of the 1940s and 50s, the stars of those days were big stuff in their day, but are now almost forgotten. Oddly enough, I was born in '64 so those iconic years were for the most part over by that time.

Through "The Nostalgic Rambler" I maybe can help share my love and knowledge for those times and things...all at one time important pieces of Americana but now a bit faded in memory.

The woman who did the blog about cooking all of Julia Childs' French Cuisine Cookbook in a year got a sweet movie deal out of her blog experience. I wouldn't mind that but would be happy to know that you are reading this....and maybe enjoying my time warp, too.

Hans Jeff Borger

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Mothers-in Law: a "new" comedy from Desi Arnaz and "I Love Lucy" writers

Here's something that's so old and forgotten that it's brand new again!

After the iconic "I Love Lucy" series, Desi Arnaz had a tough act to follow....and he had to do it without his former wife Lucille Ball. What he come up with in the late 60s was a show called "The Mothers-in Law" starring Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard. The show aired for two seasons on NBC. Arnaz produced and also appeared in several episodes.

Although it was fondly remembered by a few people (including a college roommate of mine) I had never seen this series. According to legend, the series rights were mired in legal problems and so for years it hasn't been seen on tv...except for some old grainy prints once in a while which I had never seen either.

Now "Desilu,too" (run by Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr) present a prize package of 1960s television with "The Mothers-in-Law" Complete Series on dvd. Of course it isn't "I Love Lucy" (nothing is....even Lucille Ball's 1960s and 70s tv ventures). "The Mothers-in-Law" is pretty funny though in its own right.

At the time it may have seemed rather 1950s in its plotlines and this of course was the late 1960s when times were a changin'. Now however the show can be looked at with a fresh view and with the stale crap presented as comedy on tv today, this is actually quite refreshing.

Desi Arnaz, Jr introduces the first show, as does the famous "The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC" peacock. From there it's 56 half hours of comedy often written by Bob Carroll, Jr and Madelyn Pugh Davis, the same scribes who penned "I Love Lucy."

Eve Arden has quite a sense of comedy timing and Kaye Ballard is the perfect cohort. Their husbands are played by Herbert Rudley and Roger C. Carmel in the first year. The second year Carmel is replaced by Richard Deacon (Mel Cooley of Dick Van Dyke Show fame).

The print is prstine but its the dvd extras that really make this release shine. Kaye Ballard (who now lives in Desi's old house) is interviewed in a delightful reminiscence about working with Desi Arnaz. A cool behind the scenes film is shown with Kaye's commentary. How interesting to see how few people were involved in producing a tv show then. Now we have garbage and hundreds of people are involved!

Great station/show promos featuring the cast and Desi are here as are cast commercials for such things as Scope and Camay! "Desilu, too" unearthed Desi Arnaz's failed pilots of "The Carol Channing Show" and "Land's End" which are presented here as are some rare programs featuring Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard. Lucille Ball gets onto the dvd as well as she presents several excerpts of her 1960s radio show are featured as she interviews Eve Arden.

You probably already have the dialog memorized after watching Lucy stomp grapes and steal John Wayne's footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theater thousands of times in reruns. If so, "The Mothers-in-Law" is a dvd set you will enjoy quite a bit.

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